At least one of the security cameras in the hallway outside the cell of Jeffrey Epstein at the Metropolitan Correction Center in New York City “had footage that is unusable” for investigative purposes, according to a report in the Washington Post.
The Post said the information about the video recordings was provided by “three people briefed on the evidence gathered earlier this month,” following Epstein’s death on August 10.
The Post’s anonymous sources did not explain what is wrong with the damaged video footage, why it is unusable or what is usable from other camera recordings in the area of the federal prison where Epstein was being held.
“It’s unclear whether the flaw in the taping affected a limited duration of the footage or whether it was a chronic problem in the beleaguered Manhattan facility,” the Post report stated. None of the government agencies involved in the Epstein case—the Bureau of Prisons, the FBI, the US Justice Department or the US attorney’s office in Manhattan—would comment on the revelation.
The new report raises further questions about the events that took place in Epstein’s cell the night before he was found dead at 6:30 a.m. from what New York Medical Examiner Barbara Sampson has determined was a “suicide by hanging.”
The unusable video recording adds to other important facts that have emerged over the past two weeks indicating that Epstein’s death was either a suicide that was abetted by prison staff or a murder.
The new report lends additional credibility to the latter explanation. Video evidence that has suddenly turned up doctored, damaged or missing is a frequent technique used by law enforcement to cover up police criminality and murder in towns and cities across America.
Among the revelations indicating that Epstein’s death was not a suicide are:
* He suffered multiple broken bones in his neck that are more frequently associated with homicidal strangulation rather than suicidal hanging.
* Strict instructions that he should not be left in his cell alone were ignored by as many as eight prison staffers—including managers and supervisors—for the 24 hours before his death.
* The two guards assigned to check in on him every 30 minutes overnight were said to have been sleeping during most or all of this time.
* Although Epstein had been placed on suicide watch for what prison authorities claimed was an attempted suicide on July 23, Epstein said he had been assaulted by his cellmate Nicholas Tartaglione, a former New York City police officer.
* Although Epstein was a high-risk prisoner who had been removed from his cell due to his alleged attempt to kill himself on July 23, he was taken off suicide watch six days later and returned to his cell.
* 24 hours before he was discovered dead, Epstein was left alone, in violation of prison protocols for high-risk inmates, when his cellmate was removed.
One of the more significant indications that Epstein did not commit suicide is the fact that he had been meeting with his legal team for as many as 12 hours a day preparing his defense up to the day of his death. Epstein’s lawyers said, “We did not see a despairing, despondent, suicidal person.”
Although Epstein’s criminal activities were known for at least two decades, he had been repeatedly protected by people in high places. In 2006 and 2008, after Epstein was at first indicted and then granted immunity and then eventually convicted as a sex offender, both Democrats and Republicans ensured that he was given a 13-month jail sentence that enabled him to come and go as he pleased from his cell for up to 12 hours a day, six days a week.
Epstein’s legal strategy no doubt included a plan to provide evidence of participation of others in his activities.
Following Epstein’s death, the media, led by the New York Times, rushed to conclude that Epstein committed suicide and that any questioning of this narrative amounted to a “conspiracy theory.”
The day after the revelation of damaged video footage, the coverage in the Times did not mention the report and focused exclusively on the hearing in the federal court of Judge Richard Berman in the Southern District of New York.
As prosecutors sought to close the case against the dead defendant, Judge Berman permitted Epstein’s victims to come forward and tell their stories of abuse and also to express their anger at the fact that no trial of the abuser would be held.
In its coverage, the Times—as well as many other news outlets, such as National Public Radio—referred repeatedly to Epstein’s “suicide in jail” as a well-established fact.